EGYPT'S MOST FAMED FAKIR 125
fakirs are the victims of their own self-suggestions, while others are the victims of the suggestions given them by their traditions. They may produce genuine feats, but false theoretical explanations. Look at the dancing Dervishes who whirl themselves into a hypnotic state and then cut themselves with daggers and knives without feeling pain. They preface this feat with elaborate ceremonial rituals and the saying of many prayers— in my opinion all needless and simply a form of creating autosuggestion to arrive at a state which I can enter quickly and without prayers, solely by understanding the natural laws involved. My conviction is that fakirs have frequently used their marvellous feats to impress the minds of people, before imposing upon them their religious beliefs. They have adopted a mystery-making attitude to increase the force of such impressions they make. All that is futile in these days, when science and education have made so much progress. These mystery-mongers would do better to study science and explain their feats scientifically."
Dr. Tahra Bey was right. 'The age of abracadabras is past. Mystery and mystification belong to a dimmer time than ours. In these enlightened days, truth must be straightly expressed, not by the crooked and devious methods of fable and fiction, symbol and simile, broken hints and awe-inspiring whispers.
"But what of those fakirs who claim to enter into religious ecstasies ?"
"I do not deny that they may have had these experiences, but the latter belong to the sphere of religion, which is outside my experimental researches. It is enough for me to work within the field I have undertaken. It is enough that I can demonstrate how the subconscious, the soul, survives and returns after the body passes through a state equivalent to death. In that alone I fiad instruction enough. Who can doubt the reality of the soul after such an experience? It is enough that I can demonstrate the wonderful powers of this soul, which will support my body when a large stone is smashed to bits upon it without harming me in any way. When a friend of mine, a trained athlete, thought he could imitate this feat and tried to do so he had his spine smashed. He had developed his body but forgot to develop the powers of his subconscious mind. The hope held out to mankind by the nurture of these powers is so sublime that I sometimes think they could bring about a new golden age. Science can no longer regard the wonders of